Intermittent iron and folic acid supplementation in menstruating women
Iron deficiency is recognized by WHO as one of the ten greatest global health risks. Because women of reproductive age lose iron through menstruation and their diets are often lacking in available iron, they are particularly vulnerable to iron deficiency.
Traditionally, it has been recommended that all women of reproductive age are given daily iron supplementation in combination with folic acid if they live in areas where the prevalence of anaemia exceeds 40%. However, more recent evidence suggests that iron and folic acid supplements consumed once, twice or three times a week on non-consecutive days by all women of reproductive age are an effective, safe and more acceptable alternative to daily iron supplements.
WHO recommends intermittent iron and folic acid supplementation as a public health intervention in menstruating women living in settings where anaemia is highly prevalent, to improve their haemoglobin concentrations and iron status and reduce the risk of anaemia.
Systematic reviews used to develop guidelines
- Intermittent iron supplementation for reducing anaemia and its associated impairments in menstruating women
Related systematic reviews
Effects of iron supplementation in nonanemic pregnant women, infants, and young children on the mental performance and psychomotor development of children: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials.